Rachel Iadicicco (301) 734-3255
USDA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON DRAFT PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced the availability of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that evaluates potential revisions to existing regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms.
In January 2004, APHIS publicly announced it was beginning a review of its regulations and published a notice of intent to prepare an EIS. The notice identified potential issues and alternatives to be studied in the EIS and requested public comment to further shape the scope of the issues and alternatives.
Input received regarding these areas and all aspects of the draft EIS will enable APHIS to make an informed decision regarding any possible future changes to the regulations. Ultimately, APHIS will formulate a proposed rule based on information in the draft EIS, the latest scientific information and public comments.
APHIS is committed to an open and transparent regulatory process that takes all comments into consideration and reflects the latest science, while continuing to protect America’s agricultural and natural resources.
APHIS’ broad biotechnology regulatory authority falls under the scope of the PPA, which has combined and modernized the various authorities under which APHIS safeguards domestic plant resources and regulated GE organisms, including the Federal Plant Pest Act and the Plant Quarantine Act.
Notice of this action is scheduled for publication next week in the Federal Register.
APHIS invites comments on this notice and the draft EIS. Consideration will be given to comments beginning July 13, and all comments must be received on or before Sept. 11. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0112, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to view the draft EIS or submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0112 to submit or view public comments and to view the draft EIS and the supporting and related materials available electronically.
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